Friday, January 8, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: On being courageous and ready for change

Go Get It!

A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
–Joshua 1:9 (KJV)

My last devotional focused on Moses, the patriarch, who with the endorsement of God, led Israel out of Egypt. I focused on his use, in his latter days, of a leadership style that time had eroded.

He and his nation of wanderers were at an inflection point where the course of history would change. The angry, punitive outburst at the people and his display of unmitigated, rebellious violence disqualified Moses as the leader for the next phase of God’s plan. Moses went to the mountain top, viewed the Promised Land then died.

Before dying, Moses masterfully executed the four polarities of transition: succession planning, the peaceful transfer of authority, institutional change and generational shifting. This process involves intersecting continua. On the vertical axis is remembering and forging. The horizontal axis includes dreaming and executing.  

The 27th chapter of the Bible book of Numbers tells the brief story of the ordination of Joshua to lead Israel. Before his departure, at the behest of and in the presence of Divinity, Moses meets with the High Priest Eleazar, in the presence of the entire encampment. The census had determined a tribal population in excess of 600,000 people. They were all assembled. Before them all, Moses put his hands on Joshua and administered a commissioned to him as the new, God chosen, Leader. In that moment, Moses publicly passed his magisterial authority to Joshua. Joshua humbly but confidently enveloped the mantle of leadership.

The roles, responsibilities and authority of the new leader was public, uncontested, undeniable and unassailable. I am not sure how many days or months went by between that public transition of authority and the departure of Moses. We know that he preached the book of Deuteronomy before he left. But with dignity, honor and unabated health, he left. He did not die because he was 120 years old. His task on Earth was completed. God was transitioning him to life at another level. He was ready.

Joshua was ready too. He had served Moses faithfully and boldly, even in the face of disappointment. Moses recognized his time to step down. Joshua had used 40 years of apprenticeship to prepare to step up. In those 40 years, God, Moses and the people saw that the “Spirit was in him.”

Optimal generational shifts and corporate change require people who are spiritually prepared to embrace the inevitable change and willingly inhabit their roles within the change. So, Moses climbs a mountain and Joshua assembles the people on a plain near the Jordan River.

It is here that the Divine voice counsels Joshua and each of us, by extension, to “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

If you are my age, you still have much to offer, but, you should consider pouring some of your experience, wisdom and authority into some younger people within whom is clear evidence of the Spirit of God.

If you are young and beginning or midstream in your development, practice and hone your faith in God, fidelity, loyalty, competence and courage. Don’t rush to power and prominence. However, when your turn comes, don’t shirk the mantle. God will not allow it to fall upon you without giving you adequate preparation. When the inevitable events occur for which there is no adequate preparation, trust that God is with you and will deliver your success.

As you embrace your challenges for today, like Joshua did, forge forward. Rehearse the visionary principle; that as long as you remember how God has led you, there need be no fear of where or how He will lead you now. Whatever your role or job, go get it! With the presence and strength of God, claim the territory that He has enlarged and prepared for you today.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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